Two members of the Harding community died over Christmas break. Harding Board of Trustees member Lundy Neely died on Dec. 21, 2021, at 73 years old. Associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences Dr. Henry North, III, died on Dec. 22, 2021, at 41 years old.
When students gathered for chapel Jan. 18, for the first time since both men died, University President David Burks and Dean of the College of Pharmacy Jeff Mercer shared words to honor the two men.
“Lundy loved God,” Burks said. “He loved his family. He loved the church, and his grandchildren all knew that very well. He was a bold leader for Harding and a dear friend. We will miss him.”
Mercer spoke in memory of North.
“[He] was regarded by all who knew him as a gentle giant among students and colleagues,” Mercer said. “He was a friend to all. He loved God with all of his being.”
Neely was a member of the Board of Trustees for 13 years. He was respected for his creative thinking, limitless ideas and passionate spirit. Board member Craig Cheatham said Neely will be remembered for his enthusiasm, positivity, kindness and generosity.
“My last conversation with Lundy lasted about an hour-and-a-half,” Cheatham said. “Much of that time he and I were in total agreement and basically were finishing each other’s sentences. … Lundy never made disagreements personal, and our world is short on people who have that gift.”
Ben Neely, Neely’s son and a Harding alumnus, said his dad’s four loves in his life were God, his wife, family and Harding University. Ben Neely said his dad spoke about the University nonstop and sent his seven children and a majority of his grandchildren to study at Harding. Additionally, Ben Neely spoke about Neely’s character.
“My dad was an incredibly charismatic person,” Neely said. “He did not know a stranger. He was also a dreamer and visionary, which led him to be an extremely successful businessman. My dad has always been about family. He created a family mission statement that centered around God and serving others.”
North joined the College of Pharmacy in 2013 and heavily involved himself both in the program and in the Searcy community. North attended West Pleasure Church of Christ and was involved with 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock, an organization that seeks to educate and mentor Black teenagers and children.
The College of Pharmacy hosted a memorial service for Harding faculty, staff and students to honor North. North’s family also came to the service. Several College of Pharmacy faculty spoke at the service, as did other representatives from across campus. Kenneth Harris, a representative of 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock, provided attendees with words of encouragement.
“Henry loved to talk to me about [social responsibility],” Harris said. “You’re carrying the torch. You’re making the social responsibility. You’re making the change. It doesn’t matter where you are or where you came from. It’s what you’re doing right now in the area that you’re in. That’s what I love about Henry. He chose Arkansas.”
Assistant dean of student affairs Jeanie Smith said North’s service-mindedness is what stood out to her about North.
“I think what is remarkable to me about Henry’s service is the way he went about providing it,” Smith said. “He was not prideful. He was not loud. He was not boastful … He would make a commitment [on the admissions committee] … ‘Get this student here, and I will help them.’”